Who was Joseph Pilates?
Born in Germany in 1880, Joseph H. Pilates had a lifelong interest in body conditioning. As a frail child dedicated to becoming stronger, he later grew to become an accomplished skier, diver, gymnast, and boxer.
While interned in England during World War I for his German citizenship, Joseph became a nurse. During this time, he designed exercise apparatus for immobilized patients by attaching springs to hospital beds. This system formed the foundation for his style of body conditioning and specialized exercise apparatus, which he brought to New York City when he opened the first Pilates Studio in 1926.
What is the Pilates Method?
The Pilates Method of Body Conditioning is a system of exercises that focus on the “Powerhouse.” These deep postural muscles of the body—mainly the abdominals, buttocks, hips and inner thighs—strengthen and lengthen the body. While strengthening the core stability muscles, Pilates works towards re-aligning the spine to its optimum position. Focusing on this proper form and alignment while strengthening the core stability muscles through movement is what Pilates is all about. You must connect your mind to your body in order to execute the movement properly.
Benefits of the Pilates Method
The Pilates Method of body conditioning promotes physical harmony and balance for people of all ages and physical conditions while providing a refreshing and energizing workout. Regardless of your current level of fitness - from sedentary office worker to fitness enthusiast - the Pilates Method can be your primary mode of body conditioning and injury prevention.
Recently discovered by physical therapists, chiropractors and orthopedists, The Pilates Method of body conditioning can also be integrated into rehabilitative exercise and physical therapy programs designed to speed recovery of soft tissue injuries.
The Pilates Method can be safely used by pregnant women to learn proper breathing and body alignment, improve concentration, and recover body shape and tone after pregnancy.
What's Different about the Pilates Method?
Joseph H. Pilates designed more than 500 specific exercises using five major pieces of unique apparatus to develop the body uniformly. Instead of performing many repetitions of each exercise, Joseph H. Pilates preferred fewer, more precise movements, requiring proper control and form.
Because your mind is required to engage with your body to perform the movements correctly, you experience a new awareness of muscle function and control. The "powerhouse" - abdomen, lower back, and buttocks - is supported and strengthened, enabling the rest of the body to move freely.
Myths & Truths About Pilates
There are many misconceptions about Pilates.
MYTH: Pilates is just for woman
TRUTH: Pilates is the single most effective exercise system and fitness tool available today. Many men suffer years of lower back discomfort more than woman. They also experience accompanying tightness in their leg musculature, which is usually caused by lower back weakness. After doing Pilates, their abdomen begins to reduce and their back pain diminishes. Pilates, when done properly, is great for both men and women.
MYTH: Pilates isn't a strenuous workout.
TRUTH: In Pilates exercise, quantity isn't as important as quality of movement. Each class is strenuous due to the challenge of doing it correctly. All the movements are taught in a flowing series where one exercise connects with the next. Every exercise works the abdominals first and then works other muscles as well. Classes are an hour long and truly a full-body workout.
MYTH: All Pilates is the same.
TRUTH: All Pilates is not the same. The most effective style of Pilates is the authentic also known as the classical style Pilates. Pilates is a fitness system that works the entire body with the emphasis on the core. There are many unauthentic and weak versions of Pilates being taught and practiced today. Be wary of Pilates programs that are not deeply rooted in the methods of Joseph Pilates.
MYTH: Mat work is easy.
TRUTH: Mat work is the most difficult form of Pilates to do correctly. All of the equipment utilized in Pilates was developed to assist clients in the mat exercises.